'This organization needs a fresh start': Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson on firing GM Marc Bergevin
MONTREAL -- Calling it a "fresh start," Montreal Canadiens owner, president and CEO Geoff Molson said Monday he will hire two people to replace the general manager he fired Sunday with a focus on diversity.
"I strongly believe that this organization needs a fresh start," said Molson, adding that the organization has made 45 draft picks in the past five years and 11 more are coming.
"It is essential that we structure our organization around properly developing this group of talent," he said.
The quest for a new GM begins now, Molson said, adding that the new GM will need to be bilingual and part of the team's diversity plan.
"From the hockey side, there is quite a big opportunity to intruduce different perspectives into the organization, and that will just make us stronger," said Molson.
In fact, there will be two positions replacing Bergevin's post.
Former New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton will serve as executive vice president of hockey operations as the team searches for a new general manager to work alongside him.
"It's a lot for one person, and if I could back up a few years and know what I know today, I would have complimented him (Bergevin) with another person," said Molson. "It's that big a job in this market."
Molson said Gorton has signed a long-term contract, and that Molson's role as Canadiens president will not change.
Bergevin was fired the day after assistant GM Scott Mellanby resigned in the middle of the Canadiens' game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bergevin served for a decade as Habs GM, highlighted by a trip to the Stanley Cup finals last season.
In 10 seasons, the Habs went 344-265-81 (18th best in the NHL). The Canadiens won three division titles, and made the playoffs six times.
This year, however, Montreal has just 14 points after 23 games, the fewest in franchise history. The team also has a minus-29 goal difference, better than only the Arizona Coyotes.
Molson said Monday that the start to the season has been "unacceptable."
The team is fourth from the bottom of the league tied with fellow struggling Canadian franchise from the west coast - the Vancouver Canucks. Both teams have won just six games in regulation this season.
The two teams face each other Monday night at the Bell Centre in a battle of the basement dwellers.